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Alexis Schulman

Alexis Schulman, PhD

Assistant Research Professor of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Director of the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program
Dolan Fellow for Innovation in Water Science, Patrick Center for Environmental Research, Academy of Natural Sciences
Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science
Office: Patrick Center 336
Phone: 215.299.1025


  • PhD, Urban and Regional Planning, MIT
  • MCP, Urban Planning, MIT
  • BSE, Environmental Engineering, Princeton University

Research Interests:

  • Environmental policy and politics
  • Urban planning
  • Sustainability and resilience transitions
  • Policy implementation
  • Local knowledge and community science


I am an environmental planner and social scientist interested in understanding what drives "green," resilient innovation in urban infrastructure, policy, and planning. Much of my work starts from the questions: Why do some communities and governments choose to embrace more sustainable practices, and how do those practices become entrenched as the new status quo? My research has focused on the adoption of green stormwater infrastructure in US cities; the use of local ecological knowledge in natural resource management science; and the promises and pitfalls of adaptive management programs.

Selected Publications:

  • “Green Infrastructure and Zoning.” Brief for: Zoning for 21st Century Planning, eds. Elliott Sclar, Lauren Fischer, Valerie Stahl and Bernadette Baird-Zars (Forthcoming; Routledge 2019)
  • “Adaptive Management: Popular but Difficult to Implement.” (with J.A. Layzer). In Conceptual Innovation in Environmental Policy, Eds. James Meadowcroft and Daniel Fiorinio. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 155-180, 2017.
  • “Food Waste Composting in Seattle: The Political Perspective.” In Sowing Seeds in the City: Ecosystem and Municipal Services, Eds. Sally Brown, Kristin Mclvor, and Elizabeth Hodges Snyder. New York: Springer, 125-130, 2016.
  • “Municipal Curbside Compostables Collection: What Works and Why” (with J.A. Layzer). Work Product of the Urban Sustainability (USA) Project, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2014.
  • “Integrated Water Resource Management in the United States: the Chesapeake Bay Program” (with J.A. Layzer). International Journal of Water Governance. 1(3-4): 237-264, 2013.
  • “Environmental Policy Evaluation and The Prospects for Public Learning” (with L.E. Susskind). In The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Environmental Policy, Eds. Sheldon Kamieniecki and Michael E. Kraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 677-694, 2012.